Jorge Moll is a well-known neurologist in Rio de Janeiro. He is the president of D’Or institute for research and education. Moll graduated in medicine from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in 1994 (https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/d-or-institute-of-research-and-education-idor). At the same university, he completed his medical residency in neurology in 1998 and then proceeded to obtain his Ph.D. in Experimental Pathophysiology at Sao Paulo University in 2004. As founder and director of the D’Or Institute for Research and Education, Moll has conducted numerous studies on multiple aspects of neurology and has won many awards for his achievements.
One notable study conducted by Moll and Jordan Grafman studied the brains of volunteers as they were asked to think about situations in which they were either donating money to charity or keeping it. To their surprise, the results were proving that generosity activated a primitive part of the brain that is also associated with lighting up in response to food or sex. The results were showing that altruism was not simply a moral faculty assigned to humans. It was shown that altruism was basic, hard-wired and associated with pleasure in the brain.
In this study, Jorge Moll realized that many aspects of morality seemed to be an evolutionary process that most likely began in other species. Animals that have been studied on this basis have been seen sacrificing their own interests showing that morality may have biological roots. Most people think of morality as something that is taught, but this study is showing our brains are hard-wired to being generous towards their neighbor. Looking at the scans of these volunteers in this study shows that our reward center in the brain lights up when showing generosity towards others.
Empathy is seen as the foundation of morality. Social behavior has been completely changed through time by humans being able to experience what other humans are going through and responding accordingly.
Jorge Moll and the other researchers are raising important questions with this study (Inspirery). Is morality and empathy based on brain chemistry or free will? From Moll’s volunteers, it’s concluded that altruism is basic to the brain.